Friday, December 18, 2009

Oooh, girls don't like geeks...

Or so moans Jeanna Bryner in a sob-story on the dropping numbers of women in computer science written for MSNB's Live Science portal. Writes Bryner,
The stereotype of computer scientists as geeks who memorize Star Trek lines and never leave the lab may be driving women away from the field, a new study suggests.

And women can be turned off by just the physical environment, say, of a computer-science classroom or office that's strewn with objects considered "masculine geeky," such as video games and science-fiction stuff.

Oh, the poor dears and their tender little sensibilities. Over a hundred years ago, English novelist Jane Austen wrote a novel entitled Sense and Sensibility that clearly showed the superiority of sense over sensibility. At the end of the novel, the character whose sensibilities had previously dominated her decisions realized that common sense was superior to being driven by her emotions (sensibilities). Women have been telling the world that they are equal (and for some feminists, more than equal) for many years. Thus, they have abrogated their privilege to being allowed to claim some 'sensibility' problem, in my view.

Let's turn the argument on its head. Most women-dominated professions decorate their offices with fluffy, girly things and engage in water-cooler discussions that mot men would find utterly inane. Men do not feel comfortable in such surroundings, but it is a rare man who speaks up to complain about this overly feminine, masculine-unfriendly atmosphere. Men prefer a different sort of atmosphere and women should accept it. If a profession is male-dominated as computer science is, then women need to realize that most of the atmosphere will be more masculine than they might prefer, just as men who enter occupations that are female-majority, like teaching or nursing, need to understand that football posters and discussions of the latest tech gadgets are unlikely to occur with any frequency. Both need to adjust.

This is not to say that women should be deliberately made to feel uncomfortable, any more than men should be made to feel uncomfortable. but both sexes have top understand that the majority is probably not thinking about that - they are creating an atmosphere that is best sited to themselves. men have long since accepted that idea. It is time and past time for women to do the same. And sob-stories like Bryner's do not help that progress.